The Consequences of Social Pressures on Partisan Opinion Dynamics
We simulate an agent-based model of opinion dynamics in a two-party framework to analyze party- and polity-wide consequences of social pressures that compel individuals to publicly conform to their party line. The model indicates that opinions polarize over time despite being initialized uniformly across most members of both parties. Further, the socially acceptable range of opinions in each party and the level of partisanship prevalent in the polity play an important role in determining the membership sizes of both parties, the median opinions of both parties and the polity, and the level of polarization within and across parties.
KeywordsOverton Window opinion dynamics political polarization partisanship
The authors wish to thank conference participants at the agent-based sessions of the Eastern Economic Association Conference in 2014 for valuable suggestions.
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